Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The entertainment establishment housed the casino and hotel under the same roof. Its key business was the management of the casino. However, the place also offered meals and lodgings to their guests. It could be considered as a low-tier Las Vegas sort of casino.
The two groups squeezed in and the hotel instantly became crowded. The men bumped against one another and rubbed shoulders. The two groups were split apart, with Li Du and Long Hair drawing the line between them. The two groups faced each other.
By the side, a gambling table had been flipped onto the floor. The gambling chips and equipment had been tidied up, but there was still the mess from the motorcycle crash, and it looked rather chaotic.
Li Du scanned the environment and then asked, “You can decide what to play. I will give you that choice to make. Hope that your brothers would also let you make the choice.”
“Play five-card stud,” Someone urged.
Long Hair looked at him and asked, “Why?”
“Five-card stud is the most professional game. They are always playing it in movies and TV programs.”
Long Hair sent a kick to that man’s leg. What a moron. He was feeling vexed and had no idea why there were so many idiots around him.
He gathered a few of his trusted brothers and asked, “Is there anyone who is good at gambling amongst our people?”
A bald middle-aged man clad in a leather jacket said, “Boss, we are not familiar with this. We are professionals in robbery or extortion. Although our buddies enjoy gambling, according to what I know, they are lousy in it.”
“Gotta be wary, boss,” another big guy spoke up. “The American dude suggested resolving the problem in such a manner, so he must be prepared.”
Long Hair glared at that guy and spoke up, “Of course, that’s why I’m trying to find a reliable dude to help us settle this.”
“Why don’t we just play big-small on the dice and gamble on whether the number on the dice would be big or small? That would rely solely on luck. In any case, if we lose, we only have to send a man to get slapped. We can afford that kind of stake.”
Hearing that, Long Hair nodded. “Sounds reasonable. Let’s just go with that, buddies.”
He returned to the gambling table and patted it. “Hey, let’s gamble on whether the dice throw will be big or small. One round to decide the winner.”
Li Du shook his head. “That won’t do. The risk would be too high on my end.”
Long Hair jeered, “Why, do you still hope to win?”
Li Du shrugged. “All men harbor some sort of dream, right? Without dreams, what would be our difference from mindless animals? So… how about ten thousand dollars per round?”
Long Hair rejected that outright. “I don’t have much time to play around with you. You had better get a reality check, friend. This is Vorkuta, not America. One round, one hundred thousand, guess the dice throw.”
“Then I go first,” Li Du said.
Long Hair stared and him and then nodded his head slowly. “Alright, you go first.”
He did not believe that there were any gambling prodigies in the world. That was something that movies and television programs cooked up for entertainment. Besides, although Long Hair looked like a thug, he had received higher education.
According to the laws of statistics, guessing whether the dice throw would be big or small was predictable. That sort of game relied entirely on probability and luck would decide the winner.
Li Du sat by the gambling table, half-smiling. He took over the dice cup and got ready to shake it.
Long Hair blocked the dice cup with one hand and said coolly, “That won’t do. I will be the one to shake the dice.”
Li Du replied, “No, let’s call a third party. There’s a dealer in the casino, let him do this.”
Long Hair agreed with his suggestion and a youth who looked energetic and handsome came to stand between them. He asked, “How many dice?”
“One,” Long Hair smiled and went on, “Crisp and clean. Let’s not wuss around like sissies, okay?”
Li Du nodded, “Of course.”
The handsome youth picked up a die for both of them to inspect. Then, he placed it into the dice cup and started to shake it freely.
The die clashed against the dice holder and made ‘pat, pat, pat’ noises. In the end, the youth slammed the dice cup onto the gambling table and looked at Li Du. He said, “Sir, please.”
Li Du placed his ear to the dice holder and frowned as he considered for a few seconds. Then, he patted the table and said, “Big.”
Long Hair said swiftly, “Then I’ll go with small.”
The dice cup was opened and the dots on the die added up to five. Undoubtedly, that was ‘Big’.
Long Hair frowned. Then, he waved his hand and a middle-aged with a menacing look sauntered over.
That was the man who had molested the girl at the bride fair and insulted Li Du. He was also the cause of the conflict.
On Li Du’s side, a tanned towering warrior went forward too. Rubbing his hands, Godzilla stepped out and with a single move, grabbed onto the middle-aged man’s collar.
The middle-aged man was frightened. He shouted in Russian as he shook his head.
Long Hair became impatient and shouted, “Wuss! Sissy! It’s just a slap!”
Godzilla centered the middle-aged man in front of him, his palms as big as frying pans. He hated the dude for making trouble and insulting Li Du and hence, he channeled his energy into that slap.
The sound of the slap rang out and the middle-aged man was hit with such impact that he was lifted off the ground!
The crowd of watchers held their breath. The buddies of the middle-aged man were shocked. Some people had started to retreat sneakily, wanting to leave that dangerous place.
The middle-aged man acted as though he had been knocked down in a car accident. When he fell to the ground, both his legs trembled, and then he fainted. The left side of his face, the one that had been slapped started to bruise and swell to the size of a bun.
The first round had ended and it was time to start the second.
The dealer looked at Li Du and after some thinking, Li Du said, “I’m staying with big!”
Long Hair said with a solemn look, “I’ll stick with small.”
The dice cup was opened on the number six. The dice throw was still big!
Another big man was shoved forward and, having seen how the first fellow had suffered, the big man peed his pants, afraid. He shook his head profusely, saying, “No, why must it be me? I have nothing to do with this, nothing to do…”
He continued talking about how he was unrelated to the conflict while others yelled, “Don’t act like a sissy!””Scaredy-cat!””What a disgrace!”
Just like an eagle preying on a little chick, Godzilla stretched out his arm and pulled the big man to his side. The man struggled with all his might while Godzilla released his left hand and threw out his right. It was another mighty slap!
In a moment, the big man was sent flying backward. When he landed on the ground, his eyes rolled back and he fainted on the spot. Just like the middle-aged man before him, he also looked like he had been in a car crash.
The third round started and when the dice cup was still, Li Du smiled and said, “This time around, I choose small!”
Long Hair took a deep breath and said, “Alright, I’ll take big.”
The handsome young dealer was just about to open the dice cup when a commotion broke up among the people behind Long Hair. More than ten people were trying to inch their way to the back of the crowd. As they tried to move behind, they shouted, “Savich was the one to cause the conflict, why should we take the punishment for him?”
Hearing that, Li Du smiled and said, “Hey, buddy, seems like not all of you Vorkuta men are that tough.”
Long Hair sensed the sarcasm in his words and felt truly disgraced himself. He turned around and howled, “Shut up, all of you! Stay there as you are. I’m bound to win this round. Look at how you guys are acting now! D*mn it, all of you are a bunch of losers!”